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Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Sports call for stronger legacy

Women with faces painted
Sports want more action to involve people excited by the Games

Leaders of Olympic sports in the UK have called on the government to improve London 2012's sporting legacy.

The governing bodies of various sports say more needs to be done to increase participation and entice people to take up sports around the Games.

"There is the 'Wimbledon effect' from the Games - two weeks of people trying sports they've seen on TV," said Brian Stocks, head of British Gymnastics.

"But we need to see something more sustainable than that."

A major House of Commons debate on the London Olympics takes place on Wednesday, exploring plans being made to involve more people in British sport.

While Stocks has called for "extra capacity" to cope with increased demand in certain sports, his counterpart at British Cycling, Peter King, is keen to ensure new facilities do not go unused.

"Cycling will benefit from great facilities left by the Olympics but we also want to make sure that we will be able to fill them with people inspired by the Games," said King.

"British Cycling made huge strides in Beijing. But a lot of that success is down to getting people involved at the grassroots level.

"Without a broad base of participation, no sport can sustain elite success - the two go hand-in-hand."

The only new policy on the table as far as legacy is concerned is free swimming - so if you don't like swimming, you're sunk

Tim Lamb
Central Council of Physical Recreation
In a statement, the government said it remained "absolutely committed to ensuring a sporting legacy from the Games", and promised that two million more people would be "active" by 2012.

"We've also recently announced a 140m free swimming scheme for over-60s and under-16s, and new money to ensure every child and young person has the opportunity to do five hours sport a week, both in and out of school," the statement continued.

But Tim Lamb, chief executive of the Central Council of Physical Recreation, the umbrella organisation for governing bodies, dismissed the government's plans.

"The only new policy on the table as far as legacy is concerned is free swimming - so if you don't like swimming, you're sunk," he said.

"The rest of the proposals are little more than existing plans which have been re-badged. So far there has been a real poverty of ambition about the government's thinking.

"There's an increasing danger that the promise that organisers made loud and clear to increase participation on the back of the Games will not be honoured and for sport that is a real concern."

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see also
GB handball issues Olympic plea
24 Oct 08 |  Olympics
Team GB boss outlines 2012 plan
21 Oct 08 |  Olympics
Councils back free swimming plan
14 Oct 08 |  Lincolnshire
Olympic heroes set sights on 2012
17 Oct 08 |  Olympics

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